The new “River Wild” is a reimagining of Curtis Hanson’s classic 1994 thriller starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon and David Strathairn about a rafting trip that takes a deadly turn.
In the new version, Adam Brody plays a heavily-tattooed ex-convict who will stop at nothing to make sure he never returns to prison. The movie also stars Brody’s wife Leighton Meester and Taran Killam, and it was directed and co-written by the trio’s longtime friend Ben Ketai.
Brody’s violent scenes with Meester are so frightening that one wonders why the couple — who’ve been married for nine years and have two children together — signed on to the film. “I tried to kill her for a fair amount of the movie,” Brody says on this week’s episode of the “Just for Variety” podcast. “I wouldn’t have picked this for us. It came to me… fully formed from a friend to both of us, but this isn’t something I was looking to do together.”
Fortunately, Brody isn’t a Method actor. “It sounds fucking boring more than anything to me,” Brody says of the hotly debated immersive acting technique that is popular with Jeremy Strong, Andrew Garfield and Lady Gaga, among others. “It sounds ungodly boring, but hats off to them. Hats off to people that don’t watch their stuff, are Method… I don’t know, is it lacking that I can turn it off so quickly? I don’t know. I’m more comfortable this way. And it just seems so profoundly uncomfortable and also boring.”
When filming wrapped, Brody had to have surgery after an old shoulder injury flared during shooting. “I had an old injury from when I was 19. I had a torn labrum. My left shoulder would come out of socket a couple of times a year, but briefly. And I don’t have to put it back in. It just goes back in, and it hurts,” Brody says.
While choreographing a fight scene with Killam, “I landed on the floor and it came out really bad,” Brody remembers. “It came out really bad, and each time it gets looser.”
“I had surgery in November on it,” he continues. “It was a nice impetus to get something I could have gotten any time in the last 20 years. And I like saying that Taran did it to me. That’s fun.”
Brody, 43, rose to fame 20 years ago for his work as Seth Cohen on the teen primetime soap “The O.C.” In the decades since, his credits run the gamut from indie fair like “River Wild” to mainstream popcorn superhero movies like the two “Shazam!” movies.
During the podcast, Brody looked back on some of his less successful auditions, including one for Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s infamous bomb, “Gigli,” for the role that went to Justin Bartha. “I remember liking the script,” Brody says. “I remember in the end, [Affleck] died in a way that it still stays with me. It’s like he’s sitting on the beach, he’s bleeding out and the sand just comes up and buries him… It was a nice image that they did not use in the movie at all.”
At about that time, he was very interested in landing a role in the “Dumb and Dumber” prequel, 2003’s “Dumber and Dumber: When Harry Met Lloyd.” “I’m like, ‘I don’t give a fuck. I would love to just be Lloyd Christmas,’” Brody says.
More recently, he read for Peter Quill/Star-Lord in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” franchise. “I wanted that one,” he says, adding that he agrees that Chris Pratt was a “better” fit. “He is bigger, stronger, but tonally, I really dug it.”
“River Wild” is available on Netflix and on digital, Blu-Ray and DVD.
The interview with Brody was conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike started. You can listen to the full conversation on “Just for Variety” above or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.
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